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Plant Physiol. 1974 May;53(5):669-73.

Turnover of cell wall polysaccharides in elongating pea stem segments.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305.


Turnover of cell wall polysaccharides and effects of auxin thereon were examined after prelabeling polysaccharides by feeding pea (Pisum sativum var. Alaska) stem segments (14)C-glucose, then keeping the tissue 7 hours in unlabeled glucose with or without indoleacetic acid. There followed an extraction, hydrolysis, and chromatography procedure by which labeled monosaccharides and uronic acids were released and separated with consistently high recovery. Most wall polymers, including galacturonan and cellulose, did not undergo appreciable turnover. About 20% turnover of starch, which normally contaminates cell wall preparations but which was removed by a preliminary step in this procedure, occurred in 7 hours. Quantitatively, the principal wall polymer turnover process observed was a 50% decrease in galactose in the pectinase-extractable fraction, including galactose attached to a pectinase-resistant rhamnogalacturonan. Other pectinase-resistant galactan(s) did not undergo turnover. No turnover was observed in arabinans, but a doubling of radioactivity in arabinose of the pectinase-resistant, hot-acid-degradable fraction occurred in 7 hours, possibly indicating conversion of galactan into arabinan. None of the above changes was affected by indoleacetic acid, but a quantitatively minor turnover of a pectinase-degradable xyloglucan was found to be consistently promoted by indole-acetic acid. This was accompanied by a reciprocal increase in water-soluble xyloglucan, suggesting that indoleacetic acid induces conversion of wall xyloglucan from insoluble to water-soluble form. The results indicate a highly selective pattern of wall turnover processes with an even more specific influence of auxin.

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